Hareidi MKs Upset at Call for Beit Shemesh Revote

Hareidi MKs accuse A-G Weinstein of choosing politics over democracy. ‘If it had been the other way around, he wouldn’t be doing this.’

Maayana Miskin ,

Yehuda Weinstein
Yehuda Weinstein
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Hareidi-religious MKs have expressed frustration over Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein’s call Wednesday to redo the vote in the city of Beit Shemesh.

Weinstein argued that allegations of fraud meant the narrow majority won by incumbent candidate Moshe Abutbul – who belongs to the hareidi-religious Shas party – may not have been a majority at all.

MKs from the hareidi-religious Yahadut Hatorah (UTJ) party accused him of playing politics at the expense of democracy.

“The Attorney General’s decision in favor of repeat elections in Beit Shemesh is extremely strange, and raises suspicion that this is a political step taken due to media pressure,” accused MK Yaakov Litzman.  

Litzman called to “respect the legal, democratic decision made by the majority.”

MK Moshe Gafni said, “This is the most politically active Attorney General the state of Israel has ever had… There is no doubt that in an argument between a secular candidate and a hareidi representative, Weinstein will act on the secular man’s behalf.”

“There is no doubt that if it had been the other way around, he wouldn’t have taken a stance,” Gafni continued.

There was no real reason to call for new elections, he argued. “There is no basis for Weinstein’s statements, which were based on speculation,” he said. Weinstein “is ignoring the wider implications that this decision will have for elections and democracy in Israel,” he added.

Gafni expressed hope that the court would reject Weinstein’s call for new elections “based on the simple reason that there is no basis for his theorizing” regarding the outcome.

“Instead of getting involved in nonsense, the Attorney General should take time to answer our many appeals over discrimination against the hareidi-religious,” he added.

MK Aryeh Deri, head of the Shas party, had harsh words for Weinstein as well. “Weinstein’s decision is tainted with cheap populism and a desire to appease the crowds. It reveals again that democracy is a flexible foundation, mean to serve the interests of the right people,” he accused.